Many of days have come and passed with me sitting amongst my grandmother and Great-Aunts as they reach back into their deepest memories of the yesteryear with me paralyzed by the colorful depiction moments from their personal journeys from which they’ve come. I can’t help but to hang onto each word or breathe, telling of the time when women had no individual rights and were deemed as property, barer of children, and the keeper of the home. (My God we’ve come along way but the struggle is not over). I cringe at the thought of them picking cotton from the fields in the summer’s heat, suffering the blisters and sometimes bleeding fingers as a result of the piney boroughs, never leaving until each plant was bare or the sacks had reached a certain weight. I can’t fathom living this life at the will of “master” or “sir”. It is with great reverence, respect, and appreciation that I, as a young Afro-American man, stand on the shoulders and backs of those before me to aim for greatness, so the triumphs as a culture are not in vain. It is because of their fortitude that I am able to get out of bed and walk down the hall to centrally heated and air-conditioned home office, sit behind a six piece mahogany wood desk and run my own business.
I often find myself as an onlooker to the young women of today, pondering their state-of-mind. As they rock 27-step hairs pieces with four different color weaves, the Remy (sponsored by women of other cultures), the dropout, the teen mother, the runaway, and the ones behind bars – what are you thinking? Do you know the lineage and the pilgrimage from which you’ve come? Are you not conscious of the struggles and lives lost for you to have freedom and the privileges afforded you? I can’t help but to wonder the same of my young men. But I digress. Not all women are victims of circumstance, of ignorance, or the product of man’s lack of respect. For, we truly have some women that have over come and have used the tears of our fore-mothers as stepping stones to reach pinnacles of success.
The journey of women and the negative connotation in which they are sometimes referred has obviously affected the heart and mind of Beverly Bond. A former Wilhelmina model, said goodbye to the ripping the runway and posing for editorials, for a much more personally satisfying life of empowerment and motivation for 12-17 year old young women of color through the arts. After leaving the modeling industry, Beverly Bond tapped into her natural love for music and over the last nine years has solidified herself as a premier DJ. She has entertained the crowds from that of The NBA All Star Game, The AMA’s, The U.S. Open, as well as worked with a lengthy list of celebrity artist from Jay Z to Martha Stewart to Prince.
Beverly Bond started her foundation, BLACK GIRLS ROCK, over four years ago in an effort to shift the negative perspectives of young women in the media and create a platform for programs and workshops focused on self esteem and confidence building. Bond also founded the annual Black Girls Rock! Awards which were created to celebrate the accomplishments of exceptional women of color who have made outstanding contributions in their careers and who stand as inspirational and positive role models in the community.
This year’s celebration of BLACK GIRLS ROCK honored the following women of color which have made outstanding leaps and strides in their respected fields of work and charity:
Raven Symone – Young, Gifted, & Black – Producer, Entertainer, Actress
Amyia Alexander – Making A Difference (MAD) – Owner of The Mobile Dance Academy
Teresa Clarke – Shot Caller – www.Africa.com
Hydeia Broadbent – MAD – 26 yr old HIV activist, contracted the disease from her mother at birth
Missy Elliott – Visionary – Musician, Producer, Rapper, Writer
Major General Marcelite J. Harris – Trailblazer – 1st Afro-American female General, 1st female Major General in the nation
Iyanla Vanzant – Motivation – Motivational Speaker, Author
Keke Palmer – Who got next? – Actress
Kari Fulton – MAD – 25 yr old Environmentalist
Adele Taylor – MAD – started Adele’s Literary Library at the age of 13
Ruby Dee – Living Legend – Actress, Arthur, Producer, Writer, Civil Rights Activist3
I challenge my beloved BE-STYLE readers to ponder your current state; question if you are who you wish to become; if you’re hiking upward on the journey we call life. I will close with a quote from the mother of the celebrants; “Birth is the beginning of a trajectory and I’m still on it. I know enough to know that I’m not where I’m going to be, that I am always becoming.” – Ruby Dee.